Posts Tagged ‘amadeo bordiga’

“While it is true that the proletariat
cannot just take the machinery of the State into its own hands and make it operate
in its interests, the same thing may be said of the machinery of the economy.
All the proponents of self-management, and particularly all our contemporary
mystics of self-management, have yet to understand that there is a
discontinuity between capitalism and communism. In fact, the movement of the
occupation of the factories and the theory of the BO correspond to a stage of proletarian
retreat, a stage in which the totality of capital represented by the State can
no longer be confronted directly, since it is not simply a matter of a handful
of individuals. The factory occupations movement is a movement that binds the
proletariat to the means of production, that makes it dependent on them. By occupying
the factories, the proletariat does not escape the socialization of capital,
which makes all human beings interdependent, but puts itself at its service.

The proletariat has withdrawn, defeated, to the places of its immediate
existence and, instead of calling it by its real name, all kinds of theoreticians
have presented this retreat as a new form of struggle, a new means to attain a
really revolutionary consciousness. The occupation of the factories without the
destruction of capital in its existence (the community of capital) can only
lead to the paralysis of capital; but the working class is also paralyzed,
immobilized, remaining so to speak within capital. If production in the
factories is resumed (self-management), then one implicitly accepts the rationality
of capital, since one restores capital without the capitalist and his
repressive appendages: foremen, psychologists, etc.; one approves of the
division of society into enterprises and therefore one accepts the resumption
of production even in those factories whose products are contrary to the
interests of humanity, like automobile factories.

It is obvious that the discourse concerning
the destruction of the State, considered simply in its anti-state dimension, is
limited to exposing the generalized state-worship that has swept over the vast
majority of the population. On the one hand, if society engenders a
State—society is the totality of social relations—the State tends to become
society as the inevitable correlate of the access of capital to the material
community. Capital, Marx says, develops a coercive relation; as a result, this element is
found in all organizations dominated by capital and therefore it is also
characteristic of the State in its activity as coercive agent that springs into
action when economic coercion, derived from the rationality characteristic of a
particular process of production, is no longer sufficient. That is to say,
employing the old terminology, the situation is no longer characterized by
having civil society on one side and the State on the other, but rather by the
penetration of the latter into all of society’s organizations.

Recalling what Marx said about the
nationalization of the land, that the land cannot belong to either the direct
producers or even to any particular generation of humanity, but rather to the
species as a whole, Bordiga emphasized the fact that the communist revolution
cannot serve to benefit a single class, regardless of how universal that class
may be. Were it to do so, it would remain in the stage of the generalization of
the proletariat and would not proceed towards its abolition. If one then
declares that every person should become a producer, one mutilates humanity at
the same time that one casts aside an entire historical-practical acquisition;
man does not have to intervene directly, personally, in order to produce! And
furthermore, such a demand is revealed to be more and more contradictory with
each passing day. As a consequence of the enormous productivity of labor, the
act of production can no longer define man; only human activity, the
development of the human forces as ends-in-themselves, can be the fundamental
determination of a humanity that is finally liberated from capital.”

– Jacques Camatte, “The KAPD and the proletarian movement.

Invariance, Series II, No. 1

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“The proletarian is the destitute, that is to say the propertyless, the without-reserves and not the badly paid. The sentence is formulated in a text of Marx’s in 1854 which says that the more a country has proletarians the more it is rich. Marx defines the proletarian as follows: the waged employee who produces the capital and valorises it, and that capital throws on to the pavement as soon as he becomes superfluous to the requirements of “Mr. Capital”. With his sharp wit, Marx laughs at an author who speaks of the “proletarian of the primitive forest”. In fact, the inhabitant of this place is not a landlord, nor a proletarian, “because if he was, it would mean that the forest exploits him instead of him exploiting it”.

The place of the worst barbarism is that modern forest that makes use of us, this forest of chimneys and bayonets, machines and weapons, of strange inanimate beasts that feed on human flesh.

The situation of all the without-reserves, reduced to such a state because, dialectically, they are themselves a reserve, has been aggravated terribly by the experience of the war. The hereditary character of membership of economic classes implies that to be without-reserves is even more serious than to be without life. After the passage of flames of the war, after carpet bombing, members of the working class, no less than at the time of all other disasters, lose not only, most likely, their present job, but see even that minimum reserve of mobile property that constitutes the parts of a rudimentary household destroyed. Titles of possession partly survive all material destruction, because they are the social rights sanctioned by the exploitation of other people. And to write again in letters of fire the Marxist law of antagonism, there is the other observation accessible to all, that the industry of the war and destruction is the one that brings the biggest profits and the biggest concentrations of wealth in the least numerous hands. For the others who lose nothing, there is the industry of reconstruction and the forest of business and the Marshall plan and ERP whose big Jackals are the worthy supreme Administrators.

The wars have therefore thrown, unambiguously, millions and millions of men into the ranks of those who no longer have anything to lose. They have given revisionism the knock-out blow. The word of radical marxism must resound in a terrifying manner: proletarians, in the communist revolution, have nothing to lose but their chains.”


Amadeo Bordiga, “Class Struggle and “Bosses’ Offensives.”” Battaglia Comunista, No. 39. 1949

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